A dear new friend asked to come observe one of my homeschool days, since she too schools several older children with toddlers and infants at her feet.
I will be honest; I was a little more than anxious about it.
I know what my home days are like. (You may remember, we are part of a Classical UMS school, so the kids are at home every other day...) I know how loud the crying can get, how chaotic it can feel, how destroyed my house ends up looking, how frazzled I can be, how much disciplining I may have to do, how impatient I often feel, how disorganized I wish I wasn't, and how discouraged some days can leave me...
...And my friend wanted to come observe my homeschool day.
I was fully aware that she knows loud. She knows correction and discipline. She knows disorganization. She knows mess. She has seven kids under 11...she knows.
But, there's something about inviting another into your own messy, imperfect, frustrating, noisy, challenging world that can be a homeschool day. The home day prior to her coming was one of those days. It proved LONG and arduous, with shedding of tears by most, and hours of of clean up following. How would she possibly benefit from seeing how not well I do it all?
But God moves in mysterious ways. He is always at work in our weaknesses to show His great faithfulness.
Simply put, here's what I learned:
1) We should always train our children as if someone was observing us. Because, Someone always is.
While there is no way we could've "faked" a compellingly easy homeschool day, we did experience a smoother, more encouraging day of school. Here are some reasons why:
- I got dressed in real clothes--as for a job--and showed up to my day of homeschooling, treating the work ahead with great value.
- I spoke clearly and directly to my children, and lowered my voice. I focused on edifying speech, and threw out the wasted words of complaining.
- I proactively encouraged.
- I didn't check email or complete housework. My kids had my full attention.
2) Our imperfect chaos, shortcomings, and striving for excellence IS encouraging to others.
Instead of cubicles and orderly checklists, my friend observed an organic family structure at the kitchen table, taking turns with mom, taking turns playing with the baby, taking turns stretching the limbs of the mind in the ebb and flow of a self-paced school day. She graciously shared that seeing my infant scatter toys throughout the house was beautiful. That all the messiness of my life was encouraging. Amen to God making loveliness of all that we want to sweep under the rug.
Praise God we are meant to live in community-- as mothers, as homeschooling families, as Christians.
Transparency and honest hospitality may be the very vessel in which God encourages another while transforming your pride in humbling sanctification. So, go ahead...you have nothing to be afraid of, nothing to hide.